News & Events

CATS students prepare for Yellowstone, win DAAPcamps scholarships, train for careers

Published: June 21, 2018

It’s summer break, but not for Cincinnati Arts & Technology Studios students

Cincinnati, June 21, 2018 — School may be out for the summer but not for students and recent graduates of Cincinnati Arts & Technology Studios. CATS, a Cincinnati Public Schools partner, uses a variety of programs to help at-risk students stay in school, graduate and launch careers.
“Opportunity Summer” at CATS offers a series of adventures and career opportunities designed to keep the young adults on track toward successful, self-sufficient lives: A learning expedition to Yellowstone National Park, DAAPcamps design program at the University of Cincinnati, career and college training for students in the CATS Bridging the Gap workforce development program, and application for college scholarships through a new grant program designed specifically for CATS students from Fifth Third Foundation.

Yellowstone National Park expedition
Twelve CATS students will soon be winging their way West for the adventure of their young lives. The Yellowstone trip, July 30 – August 3, will include hiking, preparing healthy meals, team-building, and lessons in personal growth. The students will study geology, wildlife management, environmental responsibility, and proper nutrition for active living.

They are preparing for the trip by learning about the natural world via a series of meetings and outdoor adventures, including a June 26 meeting and personal zoo tour with Cincinnati Zoo Director Thane Maynard. The director will introduce the students to some of the wild animals they are likely to encounter at Yellowstone. Other excursions include hiking at Pyramid Hill and a visit to Green Acres to learn about water preservation and conservation. This is the fourth CATS trip to Yellowstone National Park. The experience is framed in the lessons of writer and philosopher Joseph Campbell’s The Hero’s Journey with students learning how to face challenges (such as flying for the first time), conquer fears (such as being away from home or encountering wild animals), and how to recognize growth opportunities. They are encouraged to then use their personal transformations to contribute to society.

The students were selected for the trip via a rigorous process that included a written application and a review of their records for dependability, commitment and teamwork. CATS Yellowstone trips are made possible through a partnership among Park Journeys, Yellowstone Park Foundation, and CATS.

Training for careers and bright futures

Twenty-nine CATS graduating seniors are preparing for career and/or college with the help of the CATS Bridging the Gap work-force development program. The program offers career tracks in health care, banking, food service, information technology, construction, and manufacturing. Some of the 29 students are preparing simultaneously for college and some for college only. All completed the school-year portion of the “Life Skills” training program, graduated from their high schools, completed orientation and qualified for lifetime job-readiness services at Cincinnati Works. Twelve of the students are training for positions as nurses’ assistants, Bridging the Gap’s most popular career track, and have already begun work to earn STNA (State Tested Nursing Assistant) certification, with training at CATS partner A Unique Place Enterprise, L.L.C.

Two CATS students have been awarded scholarships to the University of Cincinnati’s DAAPcamps, a week-long summer enrichment program for high school students interested in architecture, fine art, graphic design, industrial design, fashion design, and interior design.
CATS and a handful of Cincinnati-area public schools participate in DAAP Alliance, a year-long initiative designed to increase diversity in design and visual art disciplines, and then can apply to attend DAAPcamps, which attracts aspiring art and design students from dozens of U.S. high schools and some international students.

The two CATS students will have the opportunity to take their learning to a college level at DAAPcamps are:
David Unthank, 2018 graduate, Carpe Diem Preparatory Academy. David will participate in the Studio Art/Drawing and Painting camp. He has studied the work of Italian Renaissance painter Sandro Boticelli and aspires to combine his own ethereal, idealistic way of painting with current-day themes.
Najla Elliott, Hughes High School junior. Najla will participate in the Fashion Design Camp. She says she loves to step “out of the box” when it comes to fashion and aspires to create her own fashion lines.
The week-long program begins on Sunday, June 24, and concludes Saturday, June 30 with a graduation ceremony and an open-to-the-public exhibition of the students’ work. DAAP Alliance is sponsored by University of Cincinnati’s College of Design, Architecture, Art and Planning, and Procter & Gamble.

Fifth Third Foundation scholarship applications
CATS students have been applying for college scholarships to be awarded through a new scholarship program, specifically for CATS students, from the Fifth Third Foundation. Up to four students will be selected to receive scholarships as part of Fifth Third’s “Inclusive Arts Initiative.” The awards will be given to the students at the Over the Rhine International Film Festival (formerly Cincinnati ReelAbilities Film Festival) during a ceremony on September 29. More details about the program, the scholarships, and the names of the winning CATS students will be available during the summer.
About the Cincinnati Arts & Technology Studios
The Cincinnati Arts &Technology Studios (CATS) is a non-profit agency that helps at-risk Cincinnati Public Schools students stay in school, graduate, launch careers and successful lives. Most of our students are high school juniors, seniors and over-age underclassmen who lack sufficient credits to graduate. We use a combination of the transformative power of the arts, a first-class environment, and a character-building culture to unlock the self-worth and potential of at-risk teens. On average, 93% of our eligible seniors graduate, 50% apply to college, and dozens have started successful careers through Bridging the Gap, the CATS workforce development program established in its current form in 2010. CATS is patterned after the highly successful Manchester Bidwell Training Center in Pittsburgh, and is a model for national replication of programs that use the arts to help teens succeed. For more information, to donate or sponsor a student, please visit us at or call us at (513) 562-5500. For more information on Bridging the Gap, the CATS workforce development program: